Two‐year outcomes following naloxone administration by police officers or emergency medical services personnel [2020]

Research Summary
We conducted a retrospective, quasi‐experimental study of a police naloxone program to examine individual outcomes following nonfatal overdose where either police (n = 111) or emergency medical services (n = 1,229) provided a first response and administered naloxone. Individuals who received a police response were more likely to be arrested immediately following initial dispatch and had more instances of repeat nonfatal overdose two years following dispatch; there were no differences in rearrest or death rates. Findings suggest police naloxone programs may increase short‐term incarceration risk, but we found little evidence overall of long‐term adverse effects.

Policy Implications
Naloxone is a tool to reduce fatal opioid‐involved overdose. Its provision alone does not constitute a comprehensive agency response to the opioid epidemic. Findings support the need for standardized policies and procedures to guide emergency responses to nonfatal overdose events and ensure consistency across agencies.

Evan M. Lowder, Spencer G. Lawson, Daniel O’Donnell, Emily Sightes, Bradley R. Ray
Criminology & Public Policy, Volume 19, Issue 3, August 2020